Mali Uromastyx


In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: dispar malienis
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Agamidae
Genus: Uromastyx




Length: 10 inches 8 inches
Weight: 200 grams 175 grams
Maturity: 4 years 4 years

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Herbivorous
Activity Timeframe: Diurnal
Interactivity: Solitary
Sexual Dimorphism: No
Gestation: 8-12 weeks
Lifespan in the Wild: 20 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 20 years

Geographic Range

Northern Africa;Saharan Desert


Status in the Wild:
Threats: Habitat Loss


Uromastyx inhabit a range stretching through most of North Africa, the Middle East and across south-central Asia and into India. This area spreads across 5000 miles and 30 countries. They are commonly known as a spiny-tailed lizard, uros or Dabb lizards. Just as the name implies this lizards tail is covered in spiny scales which can be used for self-defense. This species is found in Mali, Africa.

Species Specifics

There are approximately 15 different species in the genus Uromastyx, some have been moved to Genus Saara.

Physical Characteristics

To aid in camouflage, they exhibit an overall backdrop of brown with spots, speckles or swirls of varying color. A very spiky tail used to swipe at predators, paired with on open mouth hissing, are there first line of defense. As a result of high concentrations of salt bearing plants, this species has glands in its nostrils used for eliminating extra salt without eliminating water.



Desert & Rocky outclifts


Approximately 10 to 100 individuals can live in one area that covers 2 square miles.


Herbivorous; as a jouvinal consumes invertebrates

Ecological Web

Mostly herbivorous, uros do consume invertebrates in juvenile stages of life. This species is prey to may birds, snakes, wolves and monitor lizards thus being a very important food source in a sparse dessert habitat.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

As a diurnal species this lizard is often found basking outside it's burrow. Some species of Uromastyx will hibernate during the winter for up to 5 months, and will aestivate during summer months when there are drought-like conditions.


Using burrows and rocky cover to thermoregulate is key to surviving in such extreme conditions.

Social Behavior

This species is highly territorial and will aggressively defend burrows, even hatchlings will attack oneanother.

Reproductive Behavior

Breeding season happens once a year around April, egg laying usually happens one month after. A male will court a female with a series of head movements and push-up motions. Females do guard the burrow in which she has laid her eggs.


6-23, offspring will often stay in their mothers burrow for a few weeks to a few months, while mother is keeping guard.



Currently only regulated by CITIES, and are listed in Appendix II as least concern. They are not evaluated by IUCN.


This species is often misidentified, which makes regulation very difficult. These animals have been trapped for food and medicines, which then led to pet trade.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

Exhibit and Educate

How You Can Help

Make good pet choices and always find out where your potential pets come from and what do they need to be healthy.

Fascinating Facts

To aid in thermoregulation euros can adjust scale color. When it is cool weather, scales will dull and darken, in warmer weather the scales lighten.


University of Michigan Museum of Zoologlogy, Animal Diversity Web; Uromastyx acanthinura Updated Feb 2011


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